Test your knowledge with our tricky drum notation quiz!

A drummer's guide to music theory and notation...


Here are some common questions and answers about the books:


Who are the books for?

Learn to Read Drum Music is suitable for approximately ages 10 and above. This is only a rough guide, and many students younger than this will manage just fine.

Why do I need to learn to read music?

Well actually you don’t! However, if you do learn then this is an extremely useful skill that we think will make you into a better drummer. Being able to read drum notation opens up many more opportunities and lets you take advantage of the millions of different drum charts and tuition books that are in use today.

Who wrote the books?

The books were written by Andy Green, who has taught drums and percussion to a wide range of ages and abilities for many years. Andy holds an Honours degree in Music and Popular music and, due to the many bands, orchestras and music groups he has been involved with, has built up a high level of experience with the many different variations of drum and percussion notation that are in use today.

How long will it take to finish the books?

This is completely up to you and your teacher and the books can be dipped into as and when appropriate. We suggest that a few pages are set as homework each week so that what you learn is kept fresh in your mind. Once complete, the books can also be really useful for looking things up in future.

I'm not doing exams - are the books still suitable?

Yes! Even if you aren’t studying for grade exams, being able to read drum notation at a high level is really useful in so many different situations. Understanding things like how notes and rests fit together; what all the different dynamic markings mean and when to take the coda will make you into a much more versatile drummer.

Are the books fun to use?

We think they are! The books have been written with young people in mind and include lots of fun pieces and different types of exercises so that readers don’t get bored by having to do the same thing over and over again. Descriptions are kept as short and as clear as possible so that the reader doesn’t have to spend all day reading long explanations. The books have been designed to be fun and engaging, so why not give them a try?

Do the books use American note names or European note names?

The books primarily use European note names (e.g. Crotchets, Quavers and Semiquavers etc.), however American note names (e.g. Half note, Quarter note, Sixteenth note etc.) are also included in the reference sections of each book.

Is there a standardised method of drum notation and if so do the books use this?

Unfortunately there is no single, universally adopted, standard method of notating drum kit music and as a result this often makes music reading a little more complicated than it should be. Norman Weinberg wrote ‘Guide to Standardized Drumset Notation’ (published by the Percussive Arts Society) which is a great start, however this has not yet been adopted worldwide and large organisations continue to publish material using different and often inconsistent methods of notation.

We think the Percussive Arts Society’s ‘Standardized notation’ makes a lot of sense as it is consistent, clear and concise, making the music much easier to read (and write). Learn to Read Drum Music is therefore based largely on this method, but aims to teach the skills required to tackle ANY kind of drum notation. This includes Trinity Guildhall exam material; Big Band charts from the 1950s and any other music you might find scribbled down on a bit of paper.


How much do the books cost?

The books cost £6.49 each.

Where can I buy the books?

The books can be purchased from Amazon – please visit the shop page to find out more.

Is it true that a donation will be made to Teenage Cancer Trust?

Yes! at least 50 pence from the sale of each book will go to Teenage Cancer Trust, an excellent charity who is devoted to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer.

Can I photocopy the books?

No – the books are protected by international copyright law and must not be copied or reproduced by any means. Please do not photocopy the books and remember that a donation is made to a wonderful cancer charity for each copy that is sold.

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